Clarice James

Smart, Fun, Relatable Fiction


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12 Words for a Thinker’s Vocabulary #5

thinking capMuch of this vocabulary quiz is based on The Thinker’s Thesaurus by Peter E. Meltzer.

Let your conversation be always full of grace, seasoned with salt, so that you may know how to answer everyone.  ~ Colossians 4:6 (NIV)

  1. appanage – a) detriment; b) adjunct; c) an extra toe; d) long-term contract
  2. busker – a) street performer; b) corn husker; c) overly talkative; d) abrasive
  3. desiderate – a) beat down; b) yearn; c) deliberate; d) separate
  4. formic — a) according to a formula; b) clay-like; c) of or relating to ants; d) quinine water
  5. gamboge – a) swollen; b) yellow; c) an expert gamer; d) bogus
  6. lightsome – a) light-hearted; b) well lit; c) easy to fool; d) nimble
  7. lusus – a) abnormality; b) clarity; c) richness; d) a constant
  8. meiosis – a) farsightedness; b) hyperbole; c) a type of irony; d) scalp condition
  9. neoteric – a) recent; b) earth-like; c) wise; d) historian
  10. pother a) a potter’s wheel; b) pick-up game of polo; c) pest; d) commotion
  11. rimple – a) pimple; b) simple; c) wrinkle; d) dimple
  12. schmaltzy – a) cheap; b) flavor of a malted drink; c) scheming; d) sentimental

    Have you chosen the correct definition? Can you use the words in a sentence? Scroll down to see how you did.

    May these words of my mouth and this meditation of my heart be pleasing in your sight, Lord, my Rock and my Redeemer. Psalm 19:14 (NIV)

    Here are the answers.

    1. b) adjunct
    2. a) street performer
    3. b) yearn
    4. c) of or relating to ants
    5. b) yellow
    6. d) nimble
    7. a) abnormality
    8. c) a type of irony
    9. a) recent
    10. d) commotion
    11. c) wrinkle
    12. d) sentimental

      For the foolishness of God is wiser than human wisdom, and the weakness of God is stronger than human strength. ~ 1 Corinthians 1:25 (NIV)

      Jumping for joy over your score?

      10-12  Youse a reel genius.

      07-09  People must have a difficult time communicating with you.

      04-06  I bet you do well at Scrabble.

      00-03  Call me sometime. We can practice our one syllable words.


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      Author Melinda Inman — A Prodigal Now Returned

      Official Author Photo Melinda Viergever Inman

      Melinda Viergever Inman was raised in the tornado capital of the U.S.—Wakita, Oklahoma, of “Twister” fame. There her roots were sunk in a storytelling family. During years of relocation, tragedy struck. Wounded and heartbroken, Melinda forsook her roots and ran from herself and from God. A journey of trial and heartache brought her home again. A prodigal now returned to her secure foundation, she writes with passion, illustrating God’s love for wounded people as he makes beauty from ashes. Refugeher first novel, is published by Koehler Books Publishing.

      CLARICE: What lessons have you learned from this writing journey? 

      MELINDA: I’ve learned that God comforts believers in hardship, equipping us to illustrate his goodness in trial. This requires suffering. We are then able to encourage broken people, showing how God orchestrates beauty from our ashes. I wanted a rosy, sunshine-filled, pain-free life, but God continues to equip me to write for this particular audience.

      My heart overflows with compassion for those who suffer from their own choices, from situations outside their control, or from the actions of others. I am one of them. If the Lord can orchestrate my messy life for good, I know he can do the same for my readers.

      CLARICE: As a committed Christian, do you plan to seek publication solely in the Christian market? If not, how do you see yourself fitting into the general publishing market?

      MELINDA: This raises a question. If we write raw, emotional content for broken people like us, should we aim solely at the Christian market? Or should we try to embrace the secular market as well? Penning this type of material shapes how we seek to publish.

      RefugeRefuge is the story of Cain, Abel, Lilith—the sister Cain desires to marry, and what happens next. It deals with sibling conflict, a relationship we would consider to be incest, fratricide, immorality, cutting, attempted suicide, revenge, and redemption. It’s gritty.

      I made the decision to seek a broad audience. So I was thrilled when I received a contract with Koehler Books, a traditional publishing house owned by a Christian publisher. For distribution we chose to label Refuge as both Christian and open-market historical fiction. Straddling both made for tricky marketing and a learning experience.

      CLARICE: How has your faith played a role in helping you share your story? 

      MELINDA: Authors and publishers must learn to think creatively for the good of our audiences—the people who need the uplifting themes of our stories. We must move outside our comfort zones. This isn’t easy. There will always be people who don’t understand why we’ve written or marketed our stories as we have, but the impact these novels have on broken lives makes it worth the challenge.

      My publisher and I have walked a fine line in moving Christians to buy a novel from a traditional house while prompting the open market to respond to a novel that has “Christian” attached. As we discuss publishing Fallen, the next novel, we tweak our strategies.

      CLARICE: What else have you written? And what are you working on now?

      MELINDA: There are three books in this first series, but I have also written stories in other genres. All of them deal with faith issues from the perspective of a protagonist who is wounded or suffers within the story. My lead characters make tragic mistakes, have had crushing childhoods, or have been hurt by religious people. They have an ax to grind with God.

      These types of stories appeal to both church-injured, world-weary Christians and to those who don’t claim to have faith, have been hurt, and yet still yearn for God.

      CLARICE: How do you plan to get these stories to your target audience? What if you can’t find the right publisher?

      Melinda ay B&NMELINDA: I love and trust my publisher, but I believe we also need to have open minds about quality self-publishing. He agrees. We may want control over the details and timing of a novel, we may plan to publish an off-genre tale from our usual niche, or, just maybe, we don’t want a Christian label on a project we’ve aimed at a wider market. This business decision is especially true if we’ve written a book that draws unbelieving people to Christ.

      To target this audience we must be willing and able to avoid preaching. We don’t have to supply every detail about God or faith within each story. We have to let our characters be true to themselves without our author voice intruding to moralize. Consequences, both good and bad, must be shown, not told. Or, as we did with Refuge, we have the option of including a study guide that has reflective faith content, if the reader desires it, leaving the story more accessible to a general audience.

      In whatever ways we yield as finely honed tools in the Lord’s hands, he draws the reader. Writing for both markets has been difficult, but rewarding. When I hear how my story has touched hurting or discouraged readers, believer or nonbeliever, I am full of joy.

      Serving the Lord in the area to which he has called us as writers provides great reward, whoever the audience or whatever the subject matter.

      Have you found your niche? Do you seek to write outside the boundaries of the typical Christian market? What are your experiences?

      SPECIAL NOTE: Enter the Refuge holiday giveaway and e-book sale at Deck the Shelves for the giveaway. To order an e-book for $.99,  click on  Kindle or Nook.


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      Christmas Giving All Year Round: Slavery vs. Freedom

      ChristmasGivingIt’s the Christmas season. I want to talk about giving—perhaps not in the way you want to hear.

      As a new Christian 34 years ago, I learned about the principle of paying my tithe (10%). Although I didn’t quite understanding how this principle worked, I don’t think I spent too much time whining about it. I just did it.

      You see, I’m a list-maker, you know, one of those people who creates lists for everything. I had my “Things-To-Do-Now-That-I’m-A- Christian-List.” I think it went something like this:

        1. Read the Bible, at least once, so I know what it’s about.
        2. Stop smoking.
        3. Pray in tongues.
        4. Find out what tongues is.
        5. Be a perfect wife.
        6. Get husband saved.
        7. Be nice to everyone I know.
        8. Then get them all saved.
        9. Lose weight and exercise.
        10. Tithe.

      When I reviewed my new list, I saw that I was in trouble. Since we list-makers get our thrills from crossing items off our lists once they are completed, compared to the other items, tithing began to look like the easiest. You might say it was my first real victory in my Christian walk – even if by default. (It took me five years to quit smoking.)

      Yet, despite my obedience in my giving, I continued to worry about money. I’d think of how little or how much I had; how and how not to spend it; how and how not my husband should spend it; and where it would come from and how I would get more. I’d sit mulling over the household bills, adding and re-adding, then fretting and wringing my hands. I was as much a slave to my will and to my fears as I was to money.

      A few years later, when the Lord thought I was ready spiritually, he showed me that my tithing had become a legalistic ritual, a ritual to which I was in bondage. Yes, I was being obedient to the law, but I hadn’t surrendered my will with that obedience. I was giving out of fear and doubt rather than trust and love.

      God We TrustGalatians 5:1 says: “It is for freedom that Christ has set us free. Stand firm, then, and do not let yourselves be burdened again by a yoke of slavery.”

      I was tired of being a slave. I prayed to the Lord as in Psalm 118:5-6: “In my anguish I cried to the Lord, and he answered by setting me free. The Lord is with me, I will not be afraid.”

      Gradually, I began to surrender my control over my finances. Paying my tithe and giving my offerings became exciting to me again. It also became more about my relationship with the Lord than an obligation.

      My obedience to the biblical principles of giving opened the door to more of God’s grace. He showed me that this type of obedience was not always reflected in other areas of my life. By his mercy, he began changing me from the inside out. My desire to give to the Lord with abandon grew, not only with my tithes and my offerings, but with my will.

      Psalm 119:32 speaks of the type of obedience I want to exhibit: “I run in the path of your commands, for you have set my heart free.”

      Just so you know, paying my tithe and giving my offerings has very little to do with my church membership responsibilities or any denominational by-laws or doctrine – or even the IRS. It’s personal — just between God and me. And I love that about it now. And this love of giving has spread to other areas of my giving.

      How about you? During this season of giving, I think it’s always a good idea to check our attitude.

      Here’s a list to check off. 🙂

      1. Do we remember to give to those in need?
      2. Are we giving out of obligation?
      3. Are we giving so others will see us?
      4. Is our heart stingy or generous?
      5. Are we overspending to impress?
      6. Do we give to get something in return?
      7. Do we receive with gratefulness?
      8. Do we fit the person to an odd gift we have hanging around, or do we tailor the gift to the person?

      Join Me in Prayer: Lord, please help us to appropriate the freedom you have given us through your Son Jesus Christ. Let our giving serve as a symbol of that freedom. Help us to release our anxieties and fears, relinquish our control and open our arms and our hearts in surrender to you. Show us how to give to you and to others with abandon! Then fill our souls with a joy and peace that money cannot buy. Thank you, Jesus. Amen.


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      TEST YOUR BIBLE KNOWLEDGE: “Better Than” Quiz

      BibleQuiz2Sometimes I like to quiz myself. It helps me remember verses, too. Here’s a Fill-in-the-Blank Scripture Verse (NIV) quiz. How did you do?

      1. Better a poor man whose walk is __________ than a fool whose lips are __________. (Pr 19:1 NIV)
      2. Better to live on a corner of the __________ than share a house with a __________ wife. (Pr 21:9
      3. Better is __________ rebuke than __________ love. (Pr 27:5 NIV)
      4. Do not forsake your friend and the friend of your father, and do not go to your brother’s house when disaster strikes you— better a __________ nearby than a __________ far away. (Pr 27:10 NIV)
      5. Better one handful with __________ than two handfuls with __________ and chasing after the wind. (Ecc 4:6 NIV)
      6. Two are better than one, because they have a good __________for their __________. . . (Ecc 4:9 NIV)
      7. Better a poor but wise __________ than an old but foolish __________ who no longer knows how to take warning. (Ecc 4:13 NIV)
      8. It is __________ not to vow than to make a vow and not __________ it. (Ecc 5:5 NIV)
      9. It is better to heed a wise man’s __________ than to listen to the __________ of fools. (Ecc 7:5 NIV)
      10. If your right eye causes you to sin, gouge it out and throw it away. It is better for you to lose one __________ of your body than for your __________ body to be thrown into hell. (Mt 5:29 NIV)
      11. It would be better for him to be thrown into the sea with a __________ tied around his neck than for him to __________one of these little ones to sin. (Lk 17:2 NIV)
      12. It is better, if it is God’s will, to suffer for doing __________ than for doing __________. (1Pe 3:17 NIV)
      □    better □    good □    part □    song
      □    blameless □    king □    perverse □    toil
      □    brother □    hidden □    quarrelsome □    tranquility
      □    cause □    millstone □    rebuke □    whole
      □    evil □    neighbor □    return □    work
      □    fulfill □    open □    roof □    youth

      good-better-best

      Answers to “Better Than” Verses Quiz #1

      1. blameless, perverse
      2. roof, quarrelsome
      3. open, hidden
      4. neighbor, brother
      5. tranquility, toil
      6. return, work
      7. youth, king
      8. better, fulfill
      9. rebuke, song
      10. part, whole
      11. millstone, cause
      12. good, evil